Interviewed by Elle Werlin, COO - Luxury Shoe Club
Welcome to the Luxury Shoe Club interview series where we introduce you to impeccably styled women whose stories need to be told.
Today we interview Frederique van der Wal. One of the most iconic Supermodels of the 90's, she's now busy as ever as a Television Host and Producer and the creator of the lifestyle brand within the flower industry called Frederique’s Choice.
I am so excited to interview Frederique van der Wal! Prior to my new job at Luxury Shoe Club, I was a celebrity stylist. Almost a decade ago, I was fortunate enough to work with Frederique van der Wal on Cover Shot, a reality show where we took everyday women and turned them into Supermodels.
Frederique was the host, and she was a breeze to work with. She is brilliant, professional, compassionate, and has a wicked sense of humor! It goes without say that she is also gorgeously stunning. I cannot wait to hear what she has been up to. So let us get this interview started!!
Share with us a little about yourself and your background. Where were you discovered?
I grew up in Holland and I was quite unaware of the fashion world or modeling. When I was approached to enter the Elite Modeling Agency Look of the Year, I was very surprised they wanted me to partake.
My motivation at the time was actually all about winning a car. Little did I know what was coming. To my surprise I ended up winning both the local and International Look of the Year 1985. I received a 2 year contract with Elite with a serious guarantee of money.
Before I began my career in Paris, I finished my studies in Holland. However, after spending time in New York City in the late Eighties, I fell in love with the city and I decided to move here permanently. I’m still here!
When I started out, I think I got very lucky. My first shoots were for American Vogue which was then followed by a Vogue Cover. From there it led to many more covers for Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Harper’s Bazaar to name a few.
At the same time I immediately landed campaigns for Revlon,Victoria Secret, and Guess Jeans. In many ways, my life really turned out to become the 'American Dream'. I came to this country as a model and the fashion world has opened up so many doors for me from producing and hosting tv shows to even playing in some films.
At my core, I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit. This has led me to create several partnerships and licensing deals with underwear lines and fragrances and I even started my own company, an e-commerce platform around flowers.
I absolutely love the opportunities America has given me and the ability to create the career I wanted at each stage of my life. I've been privileged enough to speak at Harvard and I was one of the actors on Broadway for the Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler.
Being a supermodel in the 90's was very different from today, everything was over-the-top from budgets to locations. Which shoot do you remember most vividly, and why? Who was your favorite photographer to shoot with?
The Cosmo Covers with Francesco Scavullo were always fun. The clothes were fabulous and Super sexy. Yet my shoots with Victoria Secret were great. I worked with Patrick Demarchelier, Richard Bailey, Paul Lange to name a few.
Often we would shoot on location like St Barths, and we would have the best time. We were like a big family, hanging out, laughing, enjoying the sun, and of course some work! One of my first shoot’s was with photographer Arthur Elgort and the amazing designer Azzedine Alaïa for American Vogue.
I do remember how nervous I was, I had never worn clothes like that ever in my life, and those shoes to this day I am shocked I didn’t break my ankle. Alaïa was an extraordinary designer, as well as a gentle and kind soul. I remember how I felt that day like it was yesterday, remarkable.
You shot recently for V Magazine, how does it feel to model today versus when you were younger? What advise would you give young models today? Did you encourage or discourage your daughter from modeling?
I actually love to shoot now. I am more confident than in my twenties, and sure of who I am. My confidence, and detachment from the day to day of modeling gives me the freedom to be more playful, less serious, and simply enjoy it.
I think the business has changed tremendously. It is much more competitive, and the careers are shorter due to smaller attention spans. I believe the accessibility to models is greater, the demand is greater, as well as jobs that used to be for models only, now include celebrities and influencers.
The positive change and result is it much more inclusive which is great and definitely long overdue. My advice for young models starting out, is really important to develop yourself, your personality, your image, and think about where you want your career to go after modeling. Most importantly, enjoy the ride, keep your wits about it. Invest wisely.
I just read about your show, HomeGrownMakeover with Frederique and Carter, a 10-episode TV series which aired on AETN's FYI channel. The program transforms homes by using flowers and plants, bringing the outdoors indoors. Tell me how this evolved?
Being from Holland we love flowers so when the Dutch Government named a flower after me, I ended up doing a documentary for Discovery Channel titled The Invisible Journey which was about how flowers come to us. That led me to create my company, Frederique’s Choice which I brought to the USA in 2015 and produced the TV show Homegrown Makeover to launch the company.
The premise of the show is to take people in greenery-deprived living spaces and provide them with flower and plant solutions to remedy various home issues. In each episode, we meet the dweller(s), learn of the desires for change and then craft creative, custom flower and plant designs and custom builds that will help solve a problem the home or apartment residents are facing.
From new parents who need an updated living room and dining room for their expanding family, incorporating their favorite flower, the Lily, in honor of their soon-to-be-born daughter, to a couple in need of a kitchen make-over, complete with an herb garden. Viewers will learn how to bring the outside in and incorporate greenery into their own homes through Carter’s custom designs and builds.
I heard you are currently filming a new series debuting in early 2020. Tell us about it.
It is true, I am filming a series called Lifecycles. This series touches on the stories and moments of some of my most interesting and unique New York City friends. Life Cycles is a feel good human interest show that isn’t afraid to touch on more serious subjects. You will get to know me and my friends and our life in New York - the city where dreams seem to come true for a lot of people. Here is a link to the show: https://newswire.fm/shows/lifecycles.
I know you are quite involved in charity work, tell us about some of the charities closet to your heart.
I am very thankful for the opportunities I have had in my life, and I want to share my good fortune with charities and causes I am passionate about. Here is a bit about the charities I am actively involved with.Save The Native Forest
I became involved with the organization Save The Native Forest after I returned from Ecuador in 2007. While there, I was fortunate to spend time with the Houarani tribe – a beautiful, ancient people. The threat to their homeland and the delicate ecosystem of the rainforest is real. Mechanized farming, logging, oil and gas corporations continue to purchase land at an alarming rate. Save The Native Forest counters this by saving the rainforest in the most efficient and direct way: buying tracts of land and preserving the forest as it should be – untouched.Cradle to Cradle
I feel lucky to be able to be involved and learn from the people at CradletoCradle. From the moment we met, I was inspired by their story and what they are doing and achieving. Their mission to make products better and have a positive impact on our society, economy and planet, is one I am proud to be a part of.
Solving Kids Cancer
Giving back is so important for me, I have always loved the work I do with different charitable organizations. I’m so proud to work with Solving Kid’s Cancer whose efforts, finds, funds, and manages novel, high-impact clinical research to improve survival of the deadliest childhood cancers.
Make A Wish
Over the years I have been involved in many children’s causes. I think being a mother made me even more conscious to what’s happening to children around the world – from violence to sickness. Charities like Make A Wish and The Starlight Children’s Foundation deal with the misfortunes that are being unjustly forced upon children around the world, and I have either organized shoots, or raised proceeds for, these organizations.
Doctors Without Borders
I decided to take part in the supermodel edition of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” It was fantastic! A great group of girls were invited onto the show: Eva Herzigova, Carol Alt, Heidi Klum, Veronica Webb, Bridget Hall, Kim Alexis, Molly Sims, and me. I won $250,000, and donated half of my winnings to Doctors Without Borders.
YouthAIDS is an HIV/AIDS fundraising and awareness campaign of PSI, targeting young people ages 15-24. The campaign began in 2001 with a small group of partners that were willing to take a chance, and make a difference. Their commitment gave YouthAIDS the platform to save lives. It is because of them – corporations, celebrities, the media, and individuals – that we have leveraged the power of media, pop culture, music, theater, and sports, to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS. I am truly honored to join the YouthAIDS leadership circle and have hosted events to raise awareness for the organization.
If you can, we would love to see your fabulous closet. Tell us who are your favorite designers and why?
My Favorite designers are Nicholas K, Rick Owens, Helmut Lang, Dries van Noten, and Chloe. I am lucky I still fit into my clothes from 20yrs ago. I keep a lot of my clothing, as I believe it better to build on clothes I have, then be wasteful and constantly buying new clothing.
Just yesterday, I was wearing a Ralph Lauren Jacket and Iro pants I bought ions ago. I believe today, it is important to incorporate sustainability practices into your lifestyle, as we must think about the environment. Especially when it comes to our clothing and accessories. I find my closet getting smaller, it seems my daughter is enjoying “shopping” in my closet.
What's Your Perfect Shoe + Clothing Combo? Why?
My Nicholas K wrap shoes with either a cool dress or tight pants. I like the balance between feminine and strong with a twist of edginess.
Last Question... Shoe Goals: What pair are you eyeing on Luxury Shoe Club
I love these Guiseppe Zanotti Grey sneakers listed on Luxury Shoe Club!
That's A Wrap!
Thank you Frederique for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with us. I am in awe with everything you have accomplished, truly inspirational. We are thrilled to have you part of the Luxury Shoe Club 'Sustainably Chic' Family. Our Readers can follow Frederique on instagram @https://www.instagram.com/frederiquevdwal
Facebook - http:// www.facebook.com/FrederiquevanderWal
Frederique's Website - http://www.frederique.com
Frederique Choice - https://us.frederiqueschoice.com/
Lastly, don't forget! Join other shoe lovers at Luxury Shoe Club, the premier trading club for pre-owned top designer shoes. Sustainble Chic, fashion at it's best!
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Written by Elle Werlin, COO - Luxury Shoe Club